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Manziel selection is seen by some as an owner’s pick


The homeless-man “draft Manziel” anecdote, which arguably was made by ESPN into something more than Browns owner Jimmy Haslam intended, created the unmistakable impression that Haslam influenced the selection of quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

With or without that story, the buzz in league circles is that Manziel was indeed a Haslam selection.

This doesn’t mean that Haslam ordered G.M. Ray Farmer to take Manziel.  That’s not how it happens.  But the man who writes the checks has a way of making his preferences known, and the men whose ability to continue to cash those checks hinges on the owner’s willingness to write them need to be smart enough to know when hints are being dropped.

So while Haslam would never speak up in the draft room about taking a given player, Haslam surely would find a way to make his views known in other ways.  And why shouldn’t he?  It’s his team.  If he wants a given guy, he should say so.  And the thinking is that:  (1) Haslam wanted Manziel; and (2) Haslam found a way to say so.

Friday’s comments from G.M. Ray Farmer regarding the Manziel selection seem to balance the reality that, while Haslam doesn’t pull rank in the draft room, he doesn’t have to.

“Jimmy is what he’s been the entire time,” Farmer said. “He asked a lot of questions. He wants to be involved. He’ll make his position known, like we all do. It’s a very collaborative process. The coaches have input, the scouts have input; the board is ranked. Nevertheless, there are several other people that are involved in that as well. At no point during the draft did Jimmy try to influence the decisions that were made. He was well aware — obviously, he was in the room — but at no point did he try to push, shove or dictate the pace of what we were doing.  He definitely added some interest level behind the discussions that were happening, but nonetheless, he was allowing us to go to work.”

But if Haslam truly was going to allow them to go to work, he would have stayed out of the process completely.  By asking questions and making his position known, he undoubtedly sent signals to Farmer about what the owner wanted.  Haslam’s presence in the draft room was a constant reminder that, ultimately, he’s the one in charge.

Again, that’s his right as the owner of the team.  But it’s almost like Haslam wants to have it both ways, being involved without officially being involved.

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39 Responses to “Manziel selection is seen by some as an owner’s pick”
  1. clemsonstillsucks says: May 10, 2014 1:00 PM

    That would make sense, considering that’s how he runs his other business ventures…

  2. browntown57 says: May 10, 2014 1:08 PM

    How is this any different than any other team?

  3. middletestament says: May 10, 2014 1:13 PM

    My biggest problem with Manziel is that he either has no awareness or is unashamed that he is so ugly. I’m just not comfortable with him out with model-like coeds. Football guys want to compare Johnny to Fran Tarkenton, but the more obvious comparison should be Jeff Garcia.

  4. bengalskuta82 says: May 10, 2014 1:14 PM

    Yeah, Ray Farmer and the HC didnt look all that excited about the Johnny Menz pick but they both looked more interested in responding to questions about their first pick,the Cornerback

  5. ravenswhat says: May 10, 2014 1:15 PM

    The browns need a spark. Something. Anything. I don’t see what the problem is. If he turns out to be a bum then it’s status quo. But they need to take a gamble.

  6. grumpyoleman says: May 10, 2014 1:18 PM

    They needed a quarterback and not many would say they reached where they picked him

  7. willjasper says: May 10, 2014 1:18 PM

    Farmer and Pettine better have their unemployment applications handy.

  8. bigjdve says: May 10, 2014 1:19 PM

    Why does everyone make such a big deal out of owners being involved?

    What other business out there would an owner not have some say on everything?

  9. thestrategyexpert says: May 10, 2014 1:19 PM

    The homeless man inspired him to become a football person, and one that thinks this Manziel kid would be a really exciting pick. “I said I wouldn’t override the football people, but now I am the king of the football people today, go Browns!”

  10. ljl2 says: May 10, 2014 1:20 PM

    I’m sorry, are other owners not in their teams’ war rooms? Seems like something out of nothing.

  11. bmore44 says: May 10, 2014 1:21 PM

    The kid will have a better NFL career than any QBs the Browns have taking the last 15 yrs. Andy Dalton has the same style play as Johnny ,and Johnny could be better than Dalton. As a Ravens fan, I’m more worried playing the bengals the last 2 yrs than Iam the Steelers anymore . Don’t count this kid out. I’ve watched him single handily beat teams with his arm and feet.

  12. middletestament says: May 10, 2014 1:25 PM

    I agree with Ravenswhat. The Browns need to keep drafting quarterback until they get it right. The Browns now have good roster talent, and it’s just going to be quarterback play that holds them back.

  13. damcmp says: May 10, 2014 1:29 PM

    Manziel was always going to be an “Owners” pick, big interest and big sales until his play got him cut!

  14. butzmark says: May 10, 2014 1:29 PM

    Going back a year, I thought it was the owner that hired Chudzinski, not a Banner type. Then nobody took responsibility for Chud’s firing. All the interviewing of QBs that went on before this draft seemed more an opportunity for a fan to try his luck when film study by pros would have narrowed that list considerably. As a Browns fan I hope he learns his lesson. Manziel seems an awful fit.

  15. grayone77 says: May 10, 2014 1:32 PM

    The man writing checks influences the man cashing those checks. Wow. I didn’t realize Cleveland was so messed up that they don’t even have direct deposit yet.

  16. tictoccpthook says: May 10, 2014 1:34 PM

    Teams with over active owners: Dallas, Washington, Titans. How many playoff games for them lately. Want to join that club?

  17. Deb says: May 10, 2014 1:44 PM

    Being able to amass enough money to purchase controlling interest in an NFL team suggests a high level of intelligence and business savvy. Just because you own an enterprise doesn’t mean you have the personal wherewithal to run that enterprise.

    The most successful team owners either grew up as football people (the Rooneys) or they hire great football people and let them do their jobs (the Krafts). Just because you’re a Big Fan and have owned a football team for five minutes doesn’t qualify you to have a say in drafting a franchise quarterback–no matter how much you’ve invested. Unfortunately, when it comes to sports teams, smart businesspeople often revert to boys with toys.

  18. jollyjoker2 says: May 10, 2014 1:44 PM

    This guy can be great so why not risk it. The rest of the draft qb’s are crap shoots also and you need a QB in the top 10 to get into the playoffs / sb.

  19. qdog112 says: May 10, 2014 1:56 PM

    Of course Haslem as a right to be there. That is not the issue. The question was if it was his pick?

    I don’t think there’s any doubt that it was his pick. Neither GM or HC wanted Manziel. Can’t see why people are still arguing over whether Manziel will succeed or fail. Time will tell.

    If you like your owner making picks, then you’ll love Jerry Jones and Haslem.

  20. kd75 says: May 10, 2014 2:07 PM

    Doesn’t everybody’s boss do the exact same thing?

  21. csbanter says: May 10, 2014 2:10 PM

    The Browns needed someone like Manziel to put them on the map for things other than ineptitude. Any owner has a right to be involved. Just look at all those season ticket sales in the past 24 hours.

  22. ballboy48 says: May 10, 2014 2:13 PM

    I would take a Johnny Manziel over the 2.7 YPC Trent Richardson, they traded. This kid is either going to knock it out of the park big time, or fizzle out. I’d go with doing well. He’s confident/arrogant, and this is the NFL, not church.

  23. keylimelight says: May 10, 2014 2:28 PM

    Manziel looked a bit overwhelmed by the time the Brown’s called his name. A bit deflated and humbled.

    We know he would’ve felt more comfortable in Texas, surrounded by Texans, but I think he landed right where he needs to be if he’s serious about being a successful NFL QB.

    Whether it was the owner or the GM or the coach who made the call, the Brown’s need him to do well. So the heat is on, Johnny. Good luck.

  24. earpaniac says: May 10, 2014 2:31 PM

    I’d bet almost every owner is there. Except for the Bears’, and that’s because she’s a 95 year old woman who’s only imprint in 30+ years was getting rid of the cheerleaders.

  25. azjohnny says: May 10, 2014 2:33 PM

    I wonder why the Browns wasted a 1st rd pick on him, Johhny would have been available in the 3rd

  26. kwjsb says: May 10, 2014 3:06 PM

    Regardless of how he was picked, I hope Hoyer stays healthy so this kid can sit a year and learn, while growing up. With-out a #1 receiver with Gordon back on the weed, we can’t afford to ruin another QB by not having a decent group of receivers…..

  27. jameslongstaffe says: May 10, 2014 3:16 PM

    Manziel reminds me of Doug Flutie, & I watched Flutie play 6 years in Canada & I knew all along he should be in the NFL. Sometimes the scouts are too rigid in their assessments, & I think Manziel will do well in the NFL. He has the arm & athleticism, the pocket awareness is a modifiable trait… I thought that’s what coaches are for, to teach. That’s what I don’t understand

  28. godofwine330 says: May 10, 2014 3:56 PM

    I believe it was, but I believe the GM told the owner that if this experiment doesn’t work then he will back off and let him do his job. Like with Tebow, I was hoping than somebody – anybody – jumped in the way so that my Browns didn’t do what many will look back on 3-4 years from now and say was a dumb move. We wasted a late 1st rounder on Weeden who is now gone and now we picked a stubborn rebel who knows it all who pouts like a kid when he is coached hard.

    I don’t like the pick. I was hoping for Bridgewater. Time will tell whether the clips that I have watched showed me the truth about either. I’ll root for Manziel as a Browns fan, but he is far from the guy I wanted. The sexy pick, yes, but the effective pick was Bridgewater. One will put butts in the seats and sell season tickets, one makes progressions, calls signals and makes all of the throws like an ACTUAL NFL QB.

    This has Haslem on it all the way.

  29. andonsage says: May 10, 2014 3:59 PM

    All of the QBs in this year’s draft have question marks, so no matter which one the Browns chose, it’ll be boom or bust. Might as well have been Johnny Manziel.

  30. nicknasti says: May 10, 2014 4:16 PM

    I’ll never believe this wasn’t Haslam’s doing. He wants the $ and press and now he’s got it, for a few months at least. Unfortunately he’s undermined the team, GM and HC. He’ll say he never “ordered” it, but when you boss wants something you either do it or you better not be wrong.

    Now the team is a circus so Farmer and Pettine go get your big shoes, red nose and honky horn because the circus is in town. It only stays a while and when it leave it takes you with it.

  31. nicknasti says: May 10, 2014 4:23 PM

    They gave a 1st and a 3rd pick for him. That would have been you WR. It was absolutely a reach. They asked every GM that followed the pick if they were looking at Manziel and every one said “No”.

  32. ytownjoe says: May 10, 2014 4:29 PM

    Haslam needed a spark. He needs to sell seats and wants to sell jerseys.

    But the Browns better win or there’s hell to pay from the fans.

    No receivers?

  33. rcali says: May 10, 2014 5:00 PM

    Johnny Football said he wanted to get to work but his first order of business is to play in a golf Pro-Am. I think this may be the problem long term with him but he still will give the Browns fans something to get excited about.

  34. fifthmaze says: May 10, 2014 5:08 PM

    Johnny is a good player. The Browns need good players. Pick 23 is not a reach. Who cares if the owner wanted it? It was a decent selection for a long irrelevant team.

  35. evansvc says: May 10, 2014 5:33 PM

    The Cleveland Browns have signed VINCE YOUNG”…..
    CLEVELAND, you may have just found some “Texas Tea” (Black Gold) in Vince Young…If you are willing to utilize his strengths, there is no telling how far the Browns can go…. Vince is motivated and determined to show he can play this game at a high level…. His career record of 31-19 tells you he know how to WIN games…
    With all the Johnny Manziel press…… Don’t give up on Vince Young just yet….
    Vince is 6 feet 5, bigger, stronger, faster and is a proven talent in the NFL…

  36. believeland1954 says: May 10, 2014 5:44 PM

    I’m pretty sure everyone in the Brown’s organization is well aware who owns the team. Who wouldn’t want to be in the draft room of their favorite team? Jimmy is a football fan and wants a winning team in Cleveland. How he gets there? I don’t care. He can make every pick if he brings back a winner to Cleveland.

  37. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: May 10, 2014 5:57 PM

    “The homeless-man “draft Manziel” anecdote, which arguably was made by ESPN into something more than Browns owner Jimmy Haslam intended, created the unmistakable impression that Haslam influenced the selection of quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.”

    That analysis quoted above is what makes PFT unlike any other resource. It is articulate, original and spot-on. It deduces the seemingly subtle impact of a seemingly benign statement from an owner. Boom.

    There are many disagreements about pro football — but that is an example of high level thinking and quality analysis rarely found anywhere else.

  38. ivanpavlov0000 says: May 10, 2014 7:26 PM

    Manziel is the Tebow of 2014. The Browns sold a couple of thousand season tickets in the 24 hours after drafting him. He’s selling plenty of merchandise. But … he hasn’t played a down in the NFL. Right now he’s all hype.

    Considering his knack for throwing the ball up for grabs, and the Pats scouting report on him, I wouldn’t want him on my team.

    On the other hand, right now he’s good for business. He’s already done his job.

  39. tommy2shoes says: May 11, 2014 2:44 PM

    I feel for Farmer it’s going to be hard to sit and watch Bridgewater succeed knowing he wanted him over Manziel it’ll be even harder knowing it’ll prolly cost him his job even tho it was Haslem’s doing. That’s if all this happens before Haslem is forced to sell the Browns n if that happens they’re all gone anyways. Manziel will be out in 3 or so years 5 tops so it’ll prolly happen before he’s gone. On the bright side at least Cleveland has other pro sports teams to follow.

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